Every writer tells of the reading when three people show up (two of them for the free wine), and I may have just had that experience.
I did a book signing at Borders this weekend – which is funny since no one knows who I am. I’m supposed to sign what people don’t know about?
I’m not famous. My book just came out the week before. I haven’t had a single review. And no one knows my face.
But I’m supposed to sign.
They set out a nice table for me by the door, my books displayed in front of me, and I was ready to greet people as they came in.
One problem: No one was coming in to see me or have me sign. They didn’t want my book.
They were at Borders to read magazines, buy coffee, browse self-help books, abandon children, eat cookies, and finger knickknacks while waiting in long lines.
So I smiled and greeted and gestured – subtly – to the books in front of me.
My favorite quotes from passers by:
In a gruff voice: “What are you trying to sell me?”
From an old lady: “Memoir, huh? Yeah, well I write those too.”
And from thirty-two different people all day long: “Oh no, no, no….” as they shake their fingers and walk by while trying not to make eye contact.
We sold twelve books in two and a half hours, nine of those because my nephew, my daughter, and my two sisters-in-law walked around and put the books in people’s hands. “Hand-selling,” literally.
So here’s the equation I learned – because math is F-U-N:
Readings > Hand-Selling > Borders Book Signing
As the book seller at the store told me halfway through, “Dante wrote about book signings in his seven levels of hell.”